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St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

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March 2015 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT OF THE LORD AND NEIGHBOR
Is it about fasting, for the sake of food?

Years ago a good man came to a parish during its most troubling and rebellious days. I knew him then as Bishop Joseph. Perhaps unknown to him, he taught me an important lesson about following the letter of the law, and about the harshness of fasting. I gained a better appreciation of Great Lent, of our remembrance of our loving Lord and His calling us to care about our neighbor-in-need. He showed this perspective to be more important than any individual act of self-discipline. For certain, we should not blame an immature Adam and Eve, nor use the legalisms of fasting as an excuse to measure and divide people, one from another – placing the law above loving kindness.

I remain appreciative of this special person who called me friend; who prayed for my healing while in the hospital ten years ago. Thank you His Eminence and our beloved Most Rev. Metropolitan Joseph. You are a good man who cares and walk with a healing spirit. May Jesus Who is our Christ, continue to guide you and all who sit at table in His name.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

February 2015 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

HIS PEACE AND PROMISE WORKING IN OUR PRISONS FOR THOSE SEEKING HIM WITH A SINCERE HEART

BELOW IS A LETTER FROM A PRISONER STUDENT WHO THANKS THE LORD FOR HIS FORGIVENESS AND THE EFFORTS OF THE ACADEMY TO BRING HIS GRACE AND TRUTH TO HIS WANDERING CHILDREN.

It is written in the Book of Proverbs, "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart" (11:29). So it has been with this sinner, who, because of great trouble in his own house, had to serve the wise in prison for twenty plus years. However, the Lord in His infinite mercy granted me to learn the meaning of St. Moses the Ethiopian's words, "Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything."

Having sat in a prison cell contemplating my lot, I saw clearly the veneer of lies that I had hid behind for so many years. "Who am I?", really, I wondered. Also, I remembered the many good Christians I had known who were still free and blessed of He Who is our One true God. Again I wondered, what do they know that I obviously don't know? I concluded, therefore that I needed to find the truth about myself and true faith. Thus, for the next two years I fully immersed myself in self-examination and a thorough re-study of the faith I had claimed, but not practiced, in the churches of Christ, Jesus.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

January 2015 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

LIFE ANEW IN THE WATERS OF HIS BAPTISM
HIS NATIVITY - HIS BAPTISM – HIS CROSS

Founded upon the wealth of the Old Testament, the ancient Church provides a year-round liturgical opportunity to participate in the remembrance of our Lord and His boundless Grace. One of these is His Nativity, anticipated weeks in advance through fasting and prayerful preparation. Then after the celebration of His birth on December 25th, there are twelve days of special commemorations. This in turn, is followed by the commemoration and celebration of the ancient Feast of the Lord's Baptism. It is here the Word of God Incarnate, Jesus our Christ, is revealed to be the divine Son of the eternal Father and promised Messiah, clothed in flesh.

Sadly, the Feast of His Baptism is becoming more and more overlooked in the commercialized secular world of today. As a result, the ancient hymns of the Church often seem drowned out by the raucous blare of Madison Avenue and celebrations of the New Year. These worldly seductions can entice one to seek the glitter of this world first, participating in its vain folly. Let us be vigilant, not turning away from the Lord and His Covenant, favoring the empty cares of the world.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

December 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

THE LORD'S NATIVITY:
BEGINNING TO ANSWERING THE DIVINE DILEMMA OF THE WORD OF GOD

When writing on the Incarnation, St. Athanasius comments on how the fear of death and man's decay in the grave, were gaining an ever firmer hold on them, even to how their relationship with their Creator, was increasingly bleak and hopeless.

What was the Word of God to do when those He created, had failed to acknowledge or even remember, their being in His image and of His likeness. To make things worse, they had even forfeited His marvelous gift of true reasoning, a reasoning which allowed them to reflect upon Him and hear His invitation to be in constant fellowship with Him. Instead, all mankind, both Jew and Gentile, was actually drifting farther and farther away from any sort of personal relationship with Him, even to serving two masters.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

November 2014 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Prisoners Celebrating the Lord through Our Prisoner Education Program

We have so many prisoners who are active students. For each of them, we try to meet them where they are; to help them grow and mature in knowing the Lord; to know through His truth the Spirit of grace, they are made by Him; to know they are in His image and of His likeness; that the goodness of His blessing shines forth in their love of the Lord and love of neighbor, even those with hate in their hearts. And why? So they too, may celebrate in the peace of Jesus our Christ and the promises of His Incarnation. For such is a gift of the Lord, attained through the repentance of the Thief, the Lord's forgiveness, and a heart willing to put Him first.

And Who is this Lord? He is the I AM, YHWH, known to Abraham, Moses, and Micah in the Old Testament, and confirmed in the Gospel of John. He is the Word of God Who became Incarnate through the womb of Mary, and came in the flesh to save, heal, and reconcile our relationship to Him and restore us to Paradise and Heavenly worship.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.